Big Man on Campus

Dannel Shepard, the senior outside linebacker, has exhibited leadership and dedication on the field by leading the Florida A&M University’s football team in tackles.

Shepard leads the team with 28 tackles, five for loss and two sacks, with still eight games remaining in the season.

Throughout his years at FAMU, Shepard enjoyed his time as a football player and a student. “Being a football player teaches you how to manage your time and distinguish what’s more important in life,” said the Cincinnati, Ohio native. “Football keeps you focused. On the field teaches you how to get along with everyone.”

Shepard’s teammates agree that he takes is a role model player.

“He makes a lot of plays and he always does his job,” said Vernon Wilder, a junior linebacker. “He is very dependable. He is a leader on the team and is dependable for the defense.”

Shepard said that he used college as an opportunity to meet new people from different areas, and as a result, it taught him how to get along with everyone.

Shepard described football as the game of life that teaches you how to overcome obstacles in life that may come your way.

“It helps you be able to deal with the ups and downs[of life],” Shepard said. “It helps you to realize what your ultimate goal is. Soon it become the same thing over and over again practicing and watching films, eat and sleeping.”

After graduation the Cincinnati native said that he expects ” big things, big goals and overcoming challenges that has never been achieved.”

Shepard plans to get his MBA and become a part of a Fortune 500 company.

“I want to be on top,” Shepard said.

Although the idea of playing for the NFL is a dream for Shepard, he is aware of the challenges that can face anyone wanting to pursue such a goal.

“Every kid plans to make it to the next level, but football is not everything,” Shepard said. “It doesn’t last forever.”

Shepard believes in the future of Rattler football, and believes that the team will be successful.

“If they can keep working like they are then they can’t be stopped, unless they stopped themselves,” Shepard said.

Shepard attributes his newfound maturity to his life experiences on the hill. Now, he says that he just sits back and observes. Shepard said that he thinks before he acts and is more dedicated to doing things that needs to be done.

As one of the four seniors on the defensive side of the ball, Shepard is able to guide some of the underclassmen on and off the field.

“Shep is a real cool dude,” said Cameron Houston, a sophomore defensive tackle from Rockledge. “You can talk to him about stuff whether it’s related to football or not. He is energetic and he makes big plays when they need to be made. He is just ultimately a good player that makes big contributions and sparks the team. He gets and keeps the team motivated.”